Valley of a Million Bulbs

This annual event sees the whole community come together to honour the legacy of one of the town’s most loved visitors and helps create a beautiful sight that visitors and residents alike can enjoy every spring and summer.  

In the autumn months, schools, community groups and other volunteers come together to plant one million bulbs throughout the town, which then blanket the area in beautiful, colourful flowers once the weather gets warmer. Popular places to see the bulbs as they flower are at Peak Hill and the Byes.  

The project which is organised every year by the Sid Vale Association commemorates Keith Owen, who donated a generous amount of money to the region with the instruction that it should be used for conservation but that the recipients think outside the box, this led to the Valley of a Million Bulbs idea.  

Who was Keith Owen? 

Keith Owen was born in Devon and lived in Totnes until the mid -1950s when he joined the RAF and began a career posted all over the world, living in Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Canada. He retired in the seventies and spend much of his retirement travelling, regularly coming to Sidmouth to visit his mother who lived in the town. During one visit in 2007, he discovered that he was terminally ill with only months left to live. He contacted the Sid Vale Association and placed his retirement fund in their care so that it could be used to help the people of the Sid Valley.  

Why Sidmouth?  

Keith asked the SVA to use the funds to support local projects which would bring the community together and would sustain the ambience of Sidmouth and the surrounding towns and villages, he said he felt that Sidmouth reflected England as it ‘used to be’. Money from the fund is used to provide grants to community groups as well as to add to the town’s atmosphere with the Valley of a Million Bulbs event.  

News of the Valley of a Million Bulbs has spread worldwide and the daffodils have become a major tourist attraction for the town. You can find maps of where the bulbs have been planted online at the Sid Vale Association’s Website.